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Buying Snake Oil

September 23, 2013

Weight LossFat HealthEating DisordersMy Boring-Ass LifeWeight Loss SurgeryDiet Talk

Trigger warning: Discussion of the decision to get weight loss surgery.

On the eve of Weight Stigma Awareness Week, which begins today, the insidious nature of weight stigma hit home.  It was a Thursday evening. I was attending a meeting for one of my volunteer groups that I’ve been in long enough I feel as though many of them are like family.  When I got the news that I lost the genetic lottery, they were among the first people to find out and they’re a small number of the people I am honest with about how I’m feeling.

Having gone through an adrenal crash a few days prior, there were many inquiries about my health.  Of course, I’m not the only one with issues. One of my mentees had been out for several months because his wife was sick. At the end of the night I’d asked him how she was doing. He told me that because she’d made a full recovery, he could focus on getting his “gastric surgery.” His words didn’t process immediately. I stared at him for a moment and then he added, “I’m tired of being the old, fat man.” Fat man… gastric surgery… the bulb in my brain suddenly lit up.

As a libertarian, I tend to adhere to the belief that people should be free to do what they want with their own bodies. By that logic, I should support weight loss surgery for those who want it. My Snake oilsource of conflict lies in the concept of informed consent. I don’t believe the doctors who push the surgery give enough information. They sell the procedure as the magic bullet for weight loss, while glossing over the complications.

It is a conflict because I also believe very strongly in personal responsibility. A doctor can tell a patient that weight loss surgery will make their poop smell like cotton candy and a patient can do their own research to determine it isn’t so. Seeing a doctor is a lot like seeing an auto mechanic — you can be taken advantage of if you don’t do your own research. Doveryai no proveryai, trust but verify. It might take the form of a second opinion, a literature search, the experiences of others, or something else. I can suggest he does his own research, but it’s ultimately up to him to decide how much, if any, to do.

Then the other shoe dropped. His real motivator for having the surgery is to inspire his wife to have it. We know the outcomes of weight loss surgery are wildly variable. What if his is the rare success and hers is the more typical fail? What if his succeeds at first, then fails soon after she goes through with it? The odds are that both of them will be failures, with a host of new problems. Maybe his will be a failure straight away and she’ll decide it’s not the best thing for her. Maybe his will be the rare success and she’ll still decide it’s not for her.

Personally, I am opposed to bariatric surgery, which my computers wants to auto-correct to barbaric surgery. At best, I think it’s surgically-induced aversion therapy. At worst, I think it’s a forced eating disorder. Everything I’ve read about it makes me scream HELL NO! That is the choice that is best for me. As much as I want to tell him not to do it, he has to decide what is best for him. He believes it will cure his diabetes and sciatica. Another guy in our group was experiencing a flare-up of sciatica that night. The other guy was thin, so he’s treated with painkillers. My mentee is not; he gets treated with instructions to lose weight. When “lose weight” is the impossible treatment for everything, I can understand trying anything to make weight loss happen.

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55 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2013 12:50 pm

    Sciatica generally involves a muscle issue because the sciatic nerve goes beside and sometimes through the piriformis deep inside the pelvis. WLS won’t help that. 🙂

    I hope that you do point him to some research at least and that he changes his mind. I’d hate to see him be cut up and not ultimately gain health.

    • gingeroid permalink
      September 23, 2013 1:12 pm

      As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.

  2. vesta44 permalink
    September 23, 2013 12:51 pm

    Having been told for years that my back pain is caused by me being DEATHFATZ, that my arthritis in my knees/hips was caused by being DEATHFATZ, that every ailment I have is caused by that same DEATHFATZ, I can totally understand why someone would think WLS is the cure. But, having had WLS and ending up fatter than I was before it, and with more pain and complications that I would love to live without, I can honestly say it wasn’t the right decision for me. Unfortunately, back then (1997), I didn’t have a computer to do any research and there wasn’t much information about WLS in my local library. All I had to go on, about the success/failure of it, was what had happened to my best friend when she had the surgery – she went from 400 lbs to 150 lbs in less than a year, had to have it redone two years later, and a year after that, she died from complications of WLS (and yes, I was still stupid enough to think that wouldn’t happen to me).
    Those informational meetings that surgeons have to let you know about the complications and success rate aren’t that informational at all. They give you a very brief outline of possible complications and tell you that there’s a 90% chance that you won’t have any of them (liar liar pants on fire). Then they bring in the cheerleaders – all the women who’ve had WLS and are the “success” stories – the ones who managed to lose the weight and keep it off and who will tell you that they have no complications at all (more liar liar pants on fire). And if you say you know someone who had WLS and had this/that/the other complication, you’re told that person is an anomaly and most people just don’t have complications (you’re practically shouted down if you dare disagree with them).
    With all the pressure our society puts on people to be thin, to be “acceptable”, to meet that impossible “ideal”, and with all the mythinformation out there about WLS and how it will affect your life, it’s no wonder people think it’s the magic cure for all their ills. Which is really sad, and says a lot about how superficial our society really is.

    • Nof permalink
      September 23, 2013 1:18 pm

      This, so much.

      My mother had WLS surgery last year. She went for the ‘sleeve’ or whatever the newest one was, because it was supposedly safer than previous surgeries. And she said she researched it thoroughly, which I believe. The problem I see is that the information on dangers is not available.

      Support forums for WLS kick out anyone who decries the surgeries. The medical establishment seems to be too in-love with them to talk about downsides as anything other than “rare side-effects”. Researchers are too busy researching WLS for 2-year-olds to do intensive follow-ups, and conflicting research seems to be suppressed.

      You can’t make an informed decision when the information isn’t there. It’s infuriating.

      • gingeroid permalink
        September 23, 2013 10:22 pm

        Support forums for WLS kick out anyone who decries the surgeries.
        That doesn’t surprise me. A lot of the online support forums I’ve joined seem to be very single-minded and woe to the person who isn’t in lockstep. Come to think of it, CruiseCritic is like that as well. Maybe it’s an online forum thing.

        I think because we’ve been conditioned to view weight loss as a triumph of will, it’s easy to write off a failed WLS as someone who just wasn’t trying hard enough. On the flip side, I’d reckon the successes are less likely to talk about the sucky parts because the compliments for their willpower, new body, etc. are valued more highly than the side-effects. The side-effects might even be accepted as the cost of being skinny because they couldn’t do it alone.

        • Dizzyd permalink
          September 25, 2013 9:47 pm

          I took a course in medical billing and coding, and I remember one of the things we learned was that they have to put down codes for pre-existing conditions (I believe I’m remembering it right). Honestly, some of the horror stories I hear people on here dealing with makes me not want to go to the doctor at all. I’ve had the pap smear with probably the biggest one they had (the clear one, right?) when I first had it done and it hurt like hell! The woman doctor just afterwards turned and walked out without a word. I’ve also had knee problems lately and I just blanch at the thought of going in to have it looked at only to be told get your stomach cut open to become acceptable and thin cuz that’ll cure everything that ails ya!!! Like no thanks, doc! If it’s all the same to you, I’ll just drag myself everywhere by my fingernails before I let THAT happen! Honestly, even with a lowly biller/coder certificate (which contrary to the for-profit school commercials does NOT land you that better job!!!), I’d probably make a way better doctor than a lot of these smug, arrogant quacks who probably graduated from Harvard Medical School only cuz their daddy knew someone who could get them in.

          • gingeroid permalink
            September 26, 2013 9:36 pm

            Some places use metal speculums and some use plastic. I don’t know if they’re color-coded by size or not. I can certainly relate to the pain of one too big. As I said below, I require the smallest one unless I get a jerk doctor who thinks my outside size is an indication of my inside size. With one exception, at least those were doctors I could fire.

    • gingeroid permalink
      September 23, 2013 1:20 pm

      I first learned the downsides of the procedure in a book about cosmetic surgery. One woman featured had massive weight loss, required additional surgeries, and carries a special spoon for her meal (read: spoonful). The man featured lost a negligible amount of weight, threw up often, and regretted going through with it. It’s almost cliche to say get a second opinion before a major surgery but I gather these are presented as minor surgeries. I wouldn’t do it but I can absolutely understand why people would. There are even reports of doctors refusing to treat their patients unless they have the surgery, a prime time for firing that doctor IMO. But again, not everybody gets that choice.

  3. BBDee permalink
    September 23, 2013 1:31 pm

    Wow! Weight Stigma Awareness Week?? Perfect timing for the bomb I’m about to drop.

    I have gotten involved recently with some online petitions to support various animal issues. As a result of that I got an email campaign from PETA. I replied to them that although I do agree with “some” of PETA’s agenda, I cannot support their organization because of their offensive ads which ridicule fat people implying that the vegan lifestyle would “cure” people of this “diseased” condition. Here is an excerpt from the reply I got back from Kate Hendrickson, Membership Correspondent:

    “Americans now eat more than 1 million animals an hour—animals who are raised and killed in appallingly cruel conditions. Something drastic must be done to shake up society’s complacent acceptance of the national obesity epidemic, and we want people to know that they have options: Pills and procedures are not the solution. The human illnesses and animal suffering that a meat-heavy diet causes are completely unnecessary: a pure vegetarian diet is the optimum diet.

    We take obesity very seriously indeed, which is why we think it would be cruel *not* to tell people about how, by going vegetarian, they can help themselves, animals, and the Earth. If change is going to come, someone must stir things up. PETA won’t shy away from doing so. Unless they are truly among the few with an irreversible medical condition, there is no reason for people to be carrying around extra weight. By encouraging people who want to lose weight to go vegetarian instead of resorting to unhealthy fad diets, we hope to offer them a choice that the multimillion-dollar diet industry won’t give them: a long-term strategy for maintaining a healthy weight.”

    She goes on and on for several paragraphs spewing the same old shopworn crap about obesity being the cause of diabetes, heart disease, etc. ad nauseam and how it’s only through adopting a vegan lifestyle that we can ever hope to achieve a longterm solution to this serious crisis!

    All the more reason to NOT support PETA, EVER!!!

    • Nof permalink
      September 23, 2013 2:13 pm

      Lolololololololol. As if veg*nism isn’t promoted as a fad diet by many people. As if veg*nism unilaterally led to weight loss (funny anecdote: one of my friends gained the most weight she ever had going vegan). As if properly managed livestock isn’t part of environmentally-friendly agriculture. As if every human, who let’s remember evolved as omnivorous apex predators, could survive with no animal products at all (I believe some people can live quite happily on a veg*n diet, but that not everyone can–the effect meat has on my own mental health is startling).

      I mean I know I shouldn’t expect coherent opinions from Peta, but come on.

      • gingeroid permalink
        September 23, 2013 11:05 pm

        I’m with you. When I was eating more plants, grains, and less animals, I had a lot of trouble keeping food around long enough to be useful and my triglycerides were going through the roof. My current diet is primarily paleo, which means I regularly enjoy animals and animal products. My endocrinologist supports it because my ability to digest carbs is impaired. Since making the switch, my body is happier and my metabolic markers are improved. I’m sure diet only gets part of the credit and being properly medicated gets the rest.

    • September 23, 2013 10:46 pm

      PETA has always been a bastion of classist, misogynist fuckheads more concerned with spectacle than with substance. They were trolls at least a decade or two before there was even an internet.

      Most vegans I know in real life, OTOH, are pretty cool people, and (fantasies of certain pious “true believers” aside) they come in multiple sizes and shapes.

      • gingeroid permalink
        September 23, 2013 11:05 pm

        LMAO! Your first paragraph is made of win.

        • September 27, 2013 10:01 am

          😀 Thanks, but I stand by the second one as well. After a lifetime of being badgered about what to eat, when and how to eat it, etc… I’ve tried to adopt the doctrine of live and let live when it comes to food. I can understand the motives of the vegans I know even if I don’t agree with all the particulars, and vice versa. In fact, the vegans I know personally are actually easier to deal with than some zealot omnivore yo-yos who’ll glare at my cheese sandwich in the office lunchroom and say, “Are you one of those… VEGETARIANS?!” as if I’ve got three heads or something. And if that happens from time to time in earthy-crunchy PDX, I can only imagine how much it would happen in, say, Witchita or Peoria. :p

          • gingeroid permalink
            September 27, 2013 6:27 pm

            I had nothing against your second paragraph. I find the vegans who want all animal products out of sight as annoying as the paleo folk who proclaim you may as well drink drain cleaner if you’re going to eat out. Life would be a lot easier if we all would mind our own business. Food choices harm nobody but the eater, if that.

    • gingeroid permalink
      September 23, 2013 10:48 pm

      There are many reasons I don’t like PETA. Among them, I like to eat, wear, and live with animals. I don’t think their vegan stance is particularly new or rare. I recall meat/non-meat being a running gag in the PETA episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit (2004), That said, huzzah for private charity. I can choose to give PETA $0 and people who like them can choose to give more.

    • Dizzyd permalink
      September 28, 2013 5:14 pm

      I wonder how they made the leap from helping animals raised in “appallingly cruel conditions” to “we have to stop being complacent about the obesity epidemic”?

  4. September 23, 2013 4:59 pm

    The saddest thing is that this man is willing to mutilate his own digestive system to coerce his wife into mutilating her own digestive system. Wow.

    Years ago I investigated WLS. A local hospital had a program, and people who had undergone the surgery had blogs. Post after post after post were tales of pain, misery, multiple surgeries. Definitely made me change my mind about doing that.

    That said, I have avoided going to my doctor because she’s been discussing WLS with me. “It’s easy!” “They’re perfecting it!” And I resent it and dread seeing her. Unfortunately, I have a pressing medical issue and I cannot avoid her any longer!

    • BBDee permalink
      September 23, 2013 6:50 pm

      Hi Susie, good luck with your dr. and stick to your guns! It’s AMAZING how they manage to use EVERYTHING you go thru as a Segway into why you should have WLS. A couple years ago I went to my doc for a cold and he said I would suffer much more than “normal” people from colds and such because of all this fat around my neck!

      • gingeroid permalink
        September 23, 2013 11:12 pm

        Damn those pesky neck sinuses that only fat folk possess! That guy must have gone to the same medical school that teaches doctors they can feel up thyroids by strangling lymph nodes.

    • gingeroid permalink
      September 23, 2013 11:11 pm

      That’s the part that bothers me most too.

      I hope you can fire her soon.

  5. Dizzyd permalink
    September 23, 2013 8:38 pm

    BBDee – Are you effin’ kidding me?!! Blaming your cold on fat? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!! Well, that and the self-righteous PETA spiel that you mentioned. Translation: “We couldn’t care less about stupid animals! We just want to use this ‘cloak of righteousness’ (i.e. animal welfare) to kick around fat people and get away with making fun of them, while simultaneously pretending – like so many concern trolls – that we’re just concerned for their health (how many times have we heard THAT song and dance?) – oh yeah! And something about the animals blah blah blah…”

    I just imagine it must be really easy for your doctor to do his practice: just blame everything on fat and push WLS so that he can get easy-peasy kickbacks from the bariatric industry for every time he says WLS – WLS WLS WLS. Honestly, sounds like a Dave Barry column!

    • gingeroid permalink
      September 23, 2013 11:18 pm

      To paraphrase Nancy Reagan, just say no 🙂

  6. September 24, 2013 1:17 pm

    I wonder how they justify fat vegan’s and vegitarians? I know A LOT of them. Oh wait..they say they don’t exhist…so they are saying that those fat folks are lying..cause you know that is what us fatties do..

    • gingeroid permalink
      September 24, 2013 6:02 pm

      Yes. We are all non-compliant lying cheats. Those fat vegans are hitting the margarine and the fat vegetarians are committing the doubly egregious sin of drinking butter. And don’t forget all those vegan cakes getting consumed as meals. Well, there’s that, or they’re sneaking bacon on the side. [/sarcasm]

      • Dizzyd permalink
        September 28, 2013 5:22 pm

        Gingeroid – That’s because they can’t comprehend the idea of fat vegans/vegetarians. If they were to discover we actually exist, (I’m a semi-) their little pea brains would explode and leave an even bigger hole in their head than the one they already have.

        • gingeroid permalink
          September 28, 2013 9:32 pm

          It’s cognitive dissonance. The best way to rationalize it is with the non-compliance stereotype.

  7. September 24, 2013 1:56 pm

    You should encourage your mentee to look into the divorce rate of people post WLS surgery, maybe that will give him momentary pause. I don’t have the numbers handy right now and I have to take a test in a just a little bit or I’d look it up myself, but my understanding is that the numbers are pretty high.

    • September 24, 2013 5:41 pm

      Well, I looked it up and used up all my sanity at the same time because I had to read a lot of rah rah WLS surgery stuff at the same time. I saw many things that said post WLS divorce rates were as high as 80-85%, but very little sourcing on that number, though experts were happy to toss those numbers around. Once I earn back my sanity points, I maybe I’ll look for the original source, but I make no promises. It will be very easy for your mentee to find the 80-85% number though.

      The defenders of WLS will say that a bad relationship is bad relationship and WLS will just highlight a struggling relationship, which may well be true.

    • gingeroid permalink
      September 24, 2013 6:09 pm

      The bad relationship explanation could be reasonable. Maybe a person did the surgery at the behest of, or to make themselves more appealing to, their partner. When it doesn’t work, the partner bails. It also wouldn’t surprise me if marriages are broken up on account of the complications. Anecdotally, I thought I was alone in having wonky physiology for a long time because nobody took me seriously when I was suffering. I didn’t know 7% of the population was like me until I got outed at work and fired. When that happened, I lost my partner, a number of friends, and had my relationship with my family suffer. The latter came around, the rest never did.

      I’ll mention it the next time I see him. I suspect he’ll decide he’ll be in that 15-20%

      • September 24, 2013 11:21 pm

        I think WLS surgery can just be trying on a relationship, as any illness or serious injury can be. I’ve have two chronic conditions that took a while to learn how to deal with and nursed my husband through a fairly significant (non-optional) abdominal surgery, all of those were trying. I also know that in the past when I was dieting and had some success, I’d feel like I knew all there was to know about dieting and would want to tell my SO how they should eat, in other words, I’d be an insufferable twit.

        Finally, I used to work for a fairly prominent dating website, and I know one thing is true about couples, people pretty much end up someone of the same relative attractiveness, based on conventional standards (yes, there are exceptions, but if you look at couples a population) and when that balance is thrown off when someone increases their attractiveness by losing weight (again, this is not my standard, but society’s standard) then the balance of the relationship is thrown off and people can get in their head that they can do better. Well, that’s my stupid 2 cents.

        • gingeroid permalink
          September 25, 2013 7:58 am

          I found your 2 cents to be insightful. I know what you mean about insuffrable twittage. I try to keep mine limited to people who want to tell me what or how to eat, but sometimes I just can’t help talking about some cool paleo recipe I made or want to try.

          • emi11n permalink
            September 25, 2013 12:22 pm

            In the same boat here. I’m paleo too but i try not to be obnoxious about it. It has cured my depression and helped my allergies, so i get excited about it and want to share it with everyone. I just remind myself that I’m not the food police and avoid critiqueing other people’s food. I guess if they want my advice they’ll ask for it.

            • gingeroid permalink
              September 26, 2013 9:38 pm

              Congratulations on finding the diet that is right for you.

        • Dizzyd permalink
          September 28, 2013 5:26 pm

          I remember nursing my hubby thru a hernia operation, and I know it was not a fun time for him. He said “I can’t imagine why someone would actually get their stomach cut up on purpose! If I didn’t have to get this done, I wouldn’t have.”

          • gingeroid permalink
            September 28, 2013 9:33 pm

            Poor guy. I hope he’s doing well now.

  8. September 24, 2013 2:39 pm

    Reblogged this on Sly Fawkes and commented:
    I’ve heard so many stories of weight loss surgery ruining people’s lives that I’d never, not for even one second, consider it. When we call it what it is, a stomach amputation, it really doesn’t sound so pretty.
    It used to be that only people with life-threatening conditions such as stomach cancer received gastric bypass. It was considered a last-ditch effort to save someone’s life. Now it’s recommended to people with perfectly healthy digestive systems as a way to achieve the coveted socially acceptable weight range. Sick and sad.

    • gingeroid permalink
      September 24, 2013 6:33 pm

      Thanks for the reblog!

      That reminds me of Botox. Originally it was developed to stop muscle spasms in people with neuromuscular disorders. Now we inject deadly toxin into our faces to hide wrinkles. Not my thing, but more power to people who choose them. I just wish they’d do their due diligence before having the procedure.

    • September 24, 2013 8:50 pm

      Yes. And also doctors are recommending WLS for smaller and smaller patients. It used to be that a person had to be at least 100 lbs “overweight” (stupid word that shouldn’t be used) and now they will do it for people who are only 40 lbs “overweight” if they have at least one “obesity-related condition” like sleep apnea or diabetes.

      Oh yeah, and they recently did weight loss surgery on a TWO YEAR OLD in Saudi Arabia, and it sounds like they are calling it as a “success” – because he lost nearly 30% of his body weight, but they aren’t (as far as I can tell) releasing any info on side effects he might be going through and I haven’t found any info on his health. The articles I have found on it sound like they are actually praising it and act like the fact that he has lost weight means that no matter what else he might be going through the procedure is a success. Some of the articles end in big scare tactic percentages of childhood obesity here in the US – and that makes me very nervous as it sounds like they are trying to say that doing WLS on children here in the US should be happening. Scary.

      • gingeroid permalink
        September 24, 2013 9:38 pm

        I saw that. If I had children, I’d want to see long-term data before opting for the procedure for mine. Perhaps his metabolism will adapt to the decreased caloric load and he’ll be whatever size he was going to be prior to the surgery. I wonder if his youth will allow him to better cope with his new stomach.

      • Dizzyd permalink
        September 28, 2013 5:29 pm

        Success = defined as the kid didn’t keel over dead right afterwards. It’s not counted if he keels over dead later on!

        • gingeroid permalink
          September 28, 2013 9:34 pm

          And if he keels over dead later on, it’s his own fault no matter what the actual cause of death might be.

  9. Cheezit permalink
    September 24, 2013 2:58 pm

    My mother had WLS after her sister did and she saw how much weight her sister (initially) lost. At the time she did it as a health concern because she was told she was pre-diabetes. Fast forward several years…my aunt has gained back pretty much all of the weight, my mother did lose a lot of weight but has gained back enough that she’s over 200 again and has a negative self-image from that, she’s hypoglycemic as a result of the WLS, and at 50-something has already had to have both knees replaced and an osteopedic fracture. It’s fully possible she would have needed the knee replacements regardless of the WLS, but the doctor said her knees looked like those of a 70-year old; I can’t help but wonder if malnutrition due to WLS is at least in part to blame. As for me, I keep being told that my back pain is due to weight and I need to “lose weight fast” because it’ll lead to all sorts of health issues if I don’t, nevermind I’ve been diagnosed with scoliosis. The pain couldn’t possibly be because I was wearing the wrong sized bra for years, or the scoliosis. Nope. DEATHFATZ.

    • gingeroid permalink
      September 24, 2013 6:37 pm

      Sorry to hear about your mother and aunt. I hope they find a food combination that keeps their blood sugar in balance.

      Doctors can be real dicks about injuries. I got jumper’s knee when I was still in the normal BMI category. At that point, I was given x-rays, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy. If I experience a flare-up while deathfat I get told to lose weight and as an afterthought they’ll suggest Advil.

      • September 24, 2013 9:19 pm

        “At that point, I was given x-rays, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy. If I experience a flare-up while deathfat I get told to lose weight and as an afterthought they’ll suggest Advil.”

        Wow, that’s disgusting. But I totally believe it. I recently went to the doctor because I had a lingering cold (a COLD) and he wouldn’t even talk about that, he insisted (even though I protested) on doing a bunch of tests including taking some of my blood for blood tests and doing a blood pressure test among other tests. Finally after getting the results he said “well your tests have all come back normal, but we really need to get your weight down. It’s just a matter of time before your weight ‘catches up to you’.” He wouldn’t even talk about why I was there, he just kept talking about that I should lose weight (which I have no interest in doing, but I couldn’t tell him that because he wouldn’t let me get a word in. When it comes to weight loss I’ve both been there and done that several times over and like 98% of everyone who attempt weight loss, gained it back, and I refuse to wage war on my body anymore). He wouldn’t hear about my cold or address it at all, he was only interested in talking to me about my weight and how important it was that I “get the weight down”. Never mind the fact that I’ve been considered “morbidly obese” for over 30 years and am as healthy as a horse. And my grandma has been obese for over 50 years and is one of the healthiest people in my family. But my health didn’t matter, my weight was the only thing that mattered to him.

        Sadly, I wish that was the only time that’s happened to me. But that’s happened with every doctor I’ve gone to see except two, who were both women – I’m not sure if that has anything to do with it. But it seems odd to me that out of ALL the doctors I’ve seen, only the two that were women were the only ones who were not hung up on my weight.

        • gingeroid permalink
          September 24, 2013 9:41 pm

          Doctors who were jerks about my weight have come in both genders. I find gynecologists to be the worst. Normally I take a virginal (i.e. the smallest) speculum. This one gyno was convinced that my insides must be proportional to my outsides and jammed in the biggest speculum she could find. My endocrinologist monitors my weight, but views large gains or losses as a symptom rather than a problem.

    • vesta44 permalink
      September 24, 2013 11:19 pm

      Cheezit – I’ve been told for years that my lower back pain is caused by my weight and that it would go away if I just lost half of my body weight (about 200 lbs). The chances of that happening are slim and none, and slim just left town.
      I finally convinced my doctor that I needed an MRI done of my back to rule out spinal stenosis. I’d been told that I could possibly have that as my back pain lessens when I bend over or sit down. Lo and behold, I have spinal stenosis on one vertebrae, where the nerve comes out of it (and it corresponds exactly with where my pain originates). Gee, ya think I might actually know something about my body and the symptoms I have and what they mean? Nah, that can’t be it, I’m a stupid fat bitch who doesn’t know shit and lies all the time (/sarcasm). So what’s the recommendation to help with the pain? Well, there’s physical therapy, injections, and seeing a physiotherapist. I want to know how any of that is supposed to fix that nerve being pinched by the stenosis (narrowing of the opening in the vertebrae where the nerve comes out). I can’t see that any of that is going to fix it, but it sure as hell will make my doctor feel better (see, I took her seriously about her pain and the cause of it, now I’m giving her options to fix that pain, never mind that they don’t address the true cause of the pain). Yeah, doctors suck, big time, when it comes to how they treat their fat patients.

      • Cheezit permalink
        September 25, 2013 4:01 am

        Yeah…it stinks. It’s like the doctors couldn’t possibly imagine there being a cause for what ails you other than deathfat. I remember going in a few years ago for a physical at my mother’s urging, she was concerned with my weight (and I’m in the 200s) that my cholesterol must be bad or something. So I got all of the blood work done, doctor never let me know the results til I pestered him and I was told simply they were ‘normal’ over the phone. Then I got a bill from my insurance. Turns out they put down a diagnosis of “obese” when filing the paperwork and my insurance refused to cover it due to the diagnosis of obesity. Well no crap, I know that. I didn’t need to pay money to a doctor to know that. I haven’t had a physical since, and it’s been about 5 years now.

        • gingeroid permalink
          September 25, 2013 8:07 am

          I hate those insurance diagnostic codes. There are a number of obesity codes. The lab who did my last round of blood work took it upon themselves to give me the morbidly obese one despite my doctor giving them codes to use, which did not include that one. Unless those chairs they put you in to do the draw have scales, I don’t know how they’d know which obesity category I’m in. The codes are going to get a lot worse when the PPACA (aka Obamacare) gets implemented. Did your waterskiing accident involve fire or animals? Surprisingly, I don’t think there is a code for a waterskiing accident with fire and animals.

          • violetyoshi permalink
            September 28, 2013 9:45 pm

            It’s going to be like an episode of Looney Tunes where Daffy Duck sold home accident insurance. And when Porky got a qualified injury to be paid from it, Daffy tried adding some ridiculous claims that needed to be met, like “A stampede of baby elephants, during a snow storm, in July.” Then after all that mysteriously managed to occur he added one baby zebra. Then he gets trampled by a baby Zebra and has to pay Porky.

            • Dizzyd permalink
              September 30, 2013 6:03 pm

              True dat! But at least Daffy DID pay out, unlike the insurance companies if they had their way. LOL

      • gingeroid permalink
        September 25, 2013 8:01 am

        With all the information available to patients, we’ve moved from the model of doctor knows best to one of patient autonomy. Some have a harder time transitioning than others. I found my current family practice doctor through a search for fat-friendly doctors and it’s made a difference in how I’m treated. They still rely too heavily on the lab and outdated norms but that’s what second opinions are for.

        • Cheezit permalink
          September 26, 2013 1:34 am

          Good for you, glad you found a good one! After a few years uninsured, I now have an HSA. I need to search for a family doctor to stick to. Hopefully I can find one that can see the issues beyond deathfat. A girl can hope…

          • gingeroid permalink
            September 26, 2013 9:41 pm

            Absolutely. Kaiser Permanente, who I generally dislike, ran an ad awhile back of a person in one of those backless gowns and the caption that people lose 50% of their hearing while wearing one. Visiting the wrong doctor can be a completely humiliating experience but it helps if you can fire them for not being able to meet your needs.

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